If you have a night free this week, I urge you to head down to The Core Theatre (formerly Solihull Arts Complex) for Solihull On Stage's exuberant production of Fame. From beginning to end the cast exuded such an infectious energy it was an absolute delight to spend an evening in their company.
Following the story of a group of students attending the High School of Performing Arts, the audience meet an array of colourful characters, from the fame-obsessed Carmen to the endearingly shy violinist, Schlomo. You need to have a solid set of principle actors in order to pull off this show, as they each have to capture the many facets of college life. Well, I am delighted to say that SOS had this in bundles.
It was an incredibly well cast production, with each principle bringing their characters beautifully to life. I must start with congratulating Dani Godwin on such a brilliantly slick production. It is clear that she and the rest of the creative team have worked immensely hard; there was not a microphone slip-up, a sound balance issue, a lighting cue missed or a paused moment. It really was a tour de force.
But then, the crowning glory was the plethora of talent on stage. Sophia Bailey made for a stunning Carmen Diaz, delivering a faultless performance. You could hear a pin drop in her rousing final solo, In LA, as she commanded the stage with her excellent characterisation and spine-tingling vocals.
Schlomo was charmingly encapsulated by Matt Branson and paired with Bailey they shared a lovely moment in Bring On Tomorrow. Meanwhile, the onstage pairing of Sue Lyons (Serena) and Sam Turner (Nick) was perfect, from Lyons’ rendition of Let’s Play A Love Scene to Turner’s I Want To Make Magic, they were both in excellent voice.
Good performances came from Suzanne Brittain (Mabel), Louis Simmonds (Tyrone) and Abi Soley (Iris), but before I begin listing everyone, I may as well say that the highlight was the entire ensemble on stage. Pinpoint harmonies, synchronised dancing (courtesy of choreographer/co-director, Sarah Golby) and a fabulous band under the musical direction of Mel O’Donnell – the show blended together in a cocktail of vibrant colour and sound.
What a show. Get down to The Core Theatre if you can, it’s a show not to miss.
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